I experienced psychosis again in the fall of 2010 (I guess fall is not a good time for me). I struggled with finding the right meds after my hospital stay in 2008. I eventually stopped taking Risperdal (anti-psychotic) because it made me feel like a zombie. I could hardly stay awake in the evening. I made up excuses as to what went wrong a couple of years back and why I did not need that med. Just saying that I was on an anti-psychotic was difficult for me. At that time I did not have a Bipolar diagnosis so I thought that it would not happen again. I was seeing a nurse practitioner at the time and I did not tell her I stopped it. I was dealing with stress at home and work (stress is often a trigger in Bipolar). I was on a different anti-depressant (Welbutrin), but my emotions started changing rapidly and I was in tears constantly for no reason.
I was working in a department with only one other person and both of our plates were way too full. My co-worker was on a business trip and I was covering the entire country for the week when my symptoms became too much to handle. I had so much anxiety that I could not keep up with my workload. I started to forget how to do things that I had done every day for years. It completely freaked me out which made trying to work even worse. My manager was out of town so I went into my VP’s office and told him I was not doing well and I needed his help. He listened as I cried and rambled on. He was very kind and calmed me down. He took my laptop and helped me go through what needed to be done. He forwarded my emails to someone who could help me. He promised me that he would not share what happened with anyone. I took the next day off to go to see my nurse.
My emotions continued to bounce around that Friday and through the weekend. I went back on Risperdal hoping it would keep things in check. I went to work on Monday, but I shouldn’t have. I promised my VP that I was well enough to work, but by Tuesday I was a complete mess. As my luck would have it, I went into psychosis during a business meeting with a supplier. It continued during lunch with them and some co-workers. I was having religious delusions and I thought the world was ending. I kept quiet so I don’t think others knew what was going on, but I know they noticed that I was a little out of it. Eventually my co-worker said I looked like I was going to pass out and I should go talk to my boss. I broke down in his office and told him I was not thinking clearly. He said I didn’t look well enough to drive so he drove me to my friend’s house. As soon as I left work, my head started to clear a little. I believe getting away from the stress relieved some of my symptoms. I called my nurse and she suggested that I take some time off work and go to outpatient behavioral therapy at the hospital.
I continued having intense emotions and crying spells that week, but somehow I was able to throw a Halloween party for my husband’s family that weekend and pretend that everything was fine. I attended four-hour group therapy sessions three days a week for a month. At my first session I hardly spoke or made eye contact with anyone, but the psychiatrist increased my meds and by the end of the month I was sharing and making connections with others. I was once again misdiagnosed with Major Depression with Psychosis. On my days off I would go to the park by our house sometimes three times a day and just stare at the pond and ducks. It was unseasonably warm that November and all the time spent in nature helped soothe my soul. Somehow I was able to find enough courage to go back to work. Thankfully, my co-workers did not mention the episode to me. To this day I am blessed to have a great work family that supports me.
I learned quite a bit from this experience. I learned how to set boundaries, especially when it comes to work. I no longer work a lot of hours or go in when I am not feeling right. I take more breaks and make sure I eat and drink on a regular basis. I watch my stress levels and rest when I need it. I put my health first and most importantly I’ve learned how to say no when I need to.